Fab du Plessis: Du Plessis’ fireworks, Siraj’s four-wicket haul script 24-run win for Bangalore

Deepankar Sharda

Mohali, April 20

Royal Challengers Bangalore came up with a dazzling performance to defeat Punjab Kings by 24 runs here today. Despite an injury, which forced him to play as an impact player and relinquish his captaincy, Faf du Plessis plundered 84 off 56 balls. The South African shared a 137-run opening-wicket stand with stand-in skipper Virat Kohli, who scored 59 off 47 balls. Mohammed Siraj then set the field on fire by claiming 4/21 to help RCB get their first away victory of the season.

Faf du Plessis and Virat Kohli (in pic) shared a crucial 137-run stand to steer Royal Challengers Bangalore to 174. Nitin mittal

Sent in to bat, RCB got off to a great start as they reached 59/0 in six overs. While Kohli built his innings, du Plessis was at his attacking best. Du Plessis smashed five sixes and five fours as the South African completed his fourth fifty of the season in 31 balls. At 91/0 in 10 overs, RCB looked set to cross the 200 mark. However, PBKS managed to stem the flow of runs with wickets at the death to restrict the opposition to 174/4.

After completing his fourth half-century of the season, Kohli looked to break loose, having changed his bat, but fell on the first ball of the 17th over. Kohli tried to sweep spinner Harpreet Brar but the ball hit his bat’s toe end and wicketkeeper Jitesh Sharma completed a diving catch.

Glenn Maxwell, last match’s top-scorer for RCB, made a guest appearance as he was dismissed on the first ball, caught by Atharva Taide off Brar. Du Plessis fell in the next over after scoring his highest score of the season, dismissed by Nathan Ellis.

Troubled chase

The absence of in-form opener Shikhar Dhawan for the second successive match meant other players had to step up for PBKS. While local boy Prabhsimran Singh (46 off 30 balls) played a lone hand at the top, the hosts kept losing wickets. Punjab’s chase began with an early blow as Siraj caught Taide lbw with his second delivery. Wanindu Hasaranga castled the dangerous Matthew Short with a googly before Siraj trapped Liam Livingstone to reduce the hosts to 27/3. To make matters worse for the hosts, stand-in skipper Sam Curran and Harpreet Singh were run out.

Mohammed Siraj picked up four wickets.

Struggling at 97/6, Jitesh’s counterattacking 41 off 27 balls gave Punjab some hope but Harshal Patel grabbed the crucial scalp, and Siraj returned to take two more wickets to seal a comprehensive victory for RCB.

Brief scores: Royal Challengers Bangalore: 174/4 (du Plessis 84, Kohli 59; Brar 2/31); Punjab Kings: 150 all out in 18.2 overs (Prabhsimran 46, Jitesh 41; Siraj 4/21, Hasaranga 2/39)

Shikhar needs another 2-3 days to recover completely

Punjab Kings will have to wait for another two to three days on the availability of regular captain Shikhar Dhawan, which puts him a doubtful starter for Saturday’s clash against Mumbai Indians. Dhawan sustained a shoulder injury during Punjab Kings’ match against Gujarat Titans here on April 13. Despite missing two matches since then, he is still among the top five most prolific batters this season with 233 runs in four matches at 116.50. “It should take around 2-3 days more,” Kings’ fielding coach Trevor Gonsalves said. pti

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